Monday, October 24, 2011

Florianopolis to Chui (the frontera)

After spending a night at a posto, we were again on beach access roads following the coastline to Porto Alegre. When we arrived at the small town of Arroio do Sal, there was some great parking by the beach on the very quiet roads. Maybe it gets busy in the summer months or even weekends but now the hotels are closed as are many of the shops, but the sleepy beach town was perfect for us. We were able to allow Winston time to roam the beach at his leisure and the two days we spent here were warm and sunny although very windy. The sand dunes were a testament to the fact that the winds must stay gusty here year long. There was also an internet in town so we were able to catch up on emails and Skype our children. Our next stop is just about 50 miles south of Arroio do Sal. It is another small beach town called Xangri-La. Yes, that is pronounced Shangri-La and we can’t resist. If anything it is even more deserted than Arroio do Sal. We note that many houses are under construction or being refurbished but for who we don’t know. Maybe, people come from Porto Alegre on weekends. We find a shady picnic spot on the beach and decide it is good for the night. The beach is wide and flat with plenty of space for Winston. It’s early and we spend an idyllic day on the beach and lazing with our books. We also decided that this will be our last weekend in Brazil. On Monday we will cross the border. With that in mind, Friday became our longest drive day since leaving Peruibe. Over 300 miles. We went inland and by-passed the city of Porto Alegre. This is a huge port and we could see ships waiting to dock. There was also a lot of traffic and we had no wish to be in downtown with the motor home. After Porto Alegre it was on to Pelotas and a decision to make. We could take the shortest route to the border at Jagaurao but we have a few days left, so we decide to drive to Chui. This is Brazil’s southernmost city. There are also a couple of praias very close to the border after Rio Grande and we hope that one will be good for the RV. But first, we spend another night at a posto. Tom has driven all day and is tired. 300 plus miles is a lot given the roads and our frequent stops to stretch our legs and give Winston bathroom breaks. The road from Rio Grande to Chui is a narrow inlet with lagoons and swamps on both sides of the road. We are treated to an array of different birds and as always we think of Bruce, our brother in law and an avid ornithologist. He would love this. As it was we could identify only a few of the many species. Our last two nights in Brazil were spent at Praia Hermenegildo. We were able to park in a paved area at the beach, right next to the Capela Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes, which we took to translate to the Chapel of Our Lady of Navigators. The small capela is beautiful with an altar dedicated to the Virgin and a 5 ft model of an old sailing vessel against one wall. This is also a popular surf spot and by evening there were at least a dozen people in the water but all wearing wetsuits. Tom debated going in with his board but without a suit did not know how long he could stay in. He reconciled with taking his book and sat on the sea wall to watch. Sunday was spent relaxing and preparing for our border crossing. The capela hosted no service but was open so we could go inside and sit. We took long walks with Winston and contemplated our final day here in Brazil.

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